Petitioners call for investigation into "neglectful" parents of boy who fell into gorilla enclosure
Published 30/05/2016 | 11:30
Police are investigating the parents of a boy who fell into a gorilla’s enclosure at a zoo after complaints of neglect.
Animal lovers are outraged that the endangered animal was shot dead by a zoo official in order to protect the boy.
Over 70,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org for police to investigate the parents of the child who fell 12 feet into the enclosure.
The petitioners are also demanding an explanation as to why the gorilla called Herambe, was not tranquilised.
The petition reads: "This beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy's parents did not keep a closer watch on the child. We the undersigned believe that the child would not have been able to enter the enclosure under proper parental supervision.
"Witnesses claim that they heard the child state that he wished to go into the enclosure and was actively trying to breach the barriers.
"This should have prompted the parents to immediately remove the child from the vicinity. It is believed that the situation was caused by parental negligence and the zoo is not responsible for the child's injuries and possible trauma.
"We the undersigned want the parents to be held accountable for the lack of supervision and negligence that caused Harambe to lose his life.
"We the undersigned feel the child's safety is paramount in this situation. We believe that this negligence may be reflective of the child's home situation.
"We the undersigned actively encourage an investigation of the child's home environment in the interests of protecting the child and his siblings from further incidents of parental negligence that may result in serious bodily harm or even death.
"Please sign this petition to encourage the Cincinnati Zoo, Hamilton County Child Protection Services, and Cincinnati Police Department hold the parents responsible."
Police in Ohio said that charges could be brought against the parents as their investigation continues.
Zoo Director Thane Maynard said the 17-year-old gorilla didn't appear to be attacking the boy, but it was “an extremely strong” animal in an agitated situation, so the Zoo’s Dangerous Animal Response Team had to respond to the “the life-threatening situation and made the difficult decision to dispatch the gorilla.”
The child was taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre and is said to have sustained no serious injuries.
@CincinnatiZoo you are a pretty dogged zoo killing a innocent animal because your enclosures aren't secure and someone can't parent!!— Belinda (@katygaga101) May 30, 2016
The public backlash has caused #JusticeForHerambe to trend on Twitter.